UK government’s Rwanda deportation plan ruled illegal
The UK Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the government’s plans to deport people seeking asylum to Rwanda. The decision represents a significant setback for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s key immigration policy.
The five judges asserted that the African nation is not a safe place for asylum seekers due to the possibility of persecution, contrary to what the British government argued.
“There are substantial grounds for believing that the removal of the claimants to Rwanda would expose them to a real risk of ill-treatment by reason of refoulement,” the court stated in its judgment.
The president of the court, Lord Reed, pointed out the failure of a similar deportation agreement between Israel and Rwanda.
Sunak has responded to the ruling, claiming that there is a ‘plan B’.
“This was not the outcome we wanted, but we have spent the last few months planning for all eventualities and we remain completely committed to stopping the boats,” he stated on Wednesday. “Crucially, the Supreme Court – like the Court of Appeal and the High Court before it – has confirmed that the principle of sending illegal migrants to a safe third country for processing is lawful,” he added.
The government may seek to identify additional countries as potential destinations in the deportation program, Sunak added.
“When people know that if they come here illegally, they won’t get to stay, then they will stop coming altogether, and we will stop the boats.”
The UK leader’s immigration policy was centered on the Rwanda plan as part of an overall approach to a tough election next year, with his party trailing substantially in the polls. It was intended to address voter concerns about the volume of asylum seekers arriving on Britain’s shores.
According to the government, the £140 million ($174.5 million) proposal would act as a significant deterrent to the increasing number of migrants reaching the UK via small boats.